Tips for an Impressive Dinner Date at Home
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Cooking for that special someone is a very personal gesture that shows sincerity, care and generosity. It brings a whole new experience to a relationship and is more intimate than just another restaurant date.  

Whether you have just started dating each other, or if your anniversary is coming up, the same principles apply. Keep things simple and easygoing - the focus should be on the two of you.

On the bright side, cooking for two shouldn't be stressful and is easier than hosting a dinner party. Just one caution though: generally, at-home dinners are not really suitable for a first date. We know you're keen to impress, but getting to know each other better through a few more dates beforehand is a better bet.

Without further ado, here's our top tips on details you need to focus on to make this dinner date at home extra special.

The Invitation
Way before the invitation itself, start observing what your date orders at restaurants to get a sense of what he or she prefers. It should be easy to find out what your date's favourite food (or dislikes) over dinner conversations too. 

Make sure that you have a place to yourself for your dinner date to take place - privacy is priority. You don't really want friends or family members to interrupt in between.

When the time feels right, suggest a dinner-at-home-date for something different. If your date is agreeable and excited about it (yay!), do make sure you find out about their dietary preferences and if he or she has any food allergies. It's not just being thoughtful, but necessary to avoid your date bloating up on such an important occasion!

Alternatively, if you're planning an anniversary surprise, make sure your date is out of the house during your prep for a pleasant surprise when he or she is back.

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Create the Right Ambience 
Creating the 'right' ambience requires your personal judgement of the stage of your relationship and your date's personality. Our only advice here is not to overdo your décor, rest assured your efforts that night would be noticed.

For a more relaxed and inviting atmosphere, dim your lights, use candles or light up the fireplace. This should make your date feel at ease. 

Play music you know and enjoy, because the music itself can be a handy conversation topic if you ever stumble upon an awkward moment of silence.

Take the extra effort to find appropriate tableware, a nice new tablecloth and having the right wine glasses do add a layer of sophistication.

Make sure you've got the place to yourself, and keep things clean and tidy! Finally, turn off your computer and leave your mobile phone on silent mode. The focus is on your date tonight!


Focus on a Simple Menu 
  • Unless you are a seasoned cook or chef, keep the stress levels down by focusing on a simple and tasty main course you're familiar with. If you seldom cook, make sure you test the recipes a few times beforehand, not on the day itself!
  • Serve a 3 course menu, it's a standard and gives you more time to spend with your date. Don't fret about starters, a warm bowl of soup with crusty bread or a simple salad can do wonders.
  • Who said simple cannot be impressive? Putting some thought on food presentation takes your cooking to the next level. Try not to overcrowd the dish with food, leave some space near the rim to create focus. Think about colours, shapes and textures too.  Simply serving your pan fried fish on top of a layer of grilled vegetables (instead of on the side) would add height and is instantly more impressive. Try it and see.
  • Choose food that are not messy to eat. You both don't really want to feel self conscious and tensed over dinner trying not to stain your clothes or teeth. 
  • Drinks - get a nice bottle of wine that matches your main course. If your date doesn't drink, consider pairing your food with juices instead, it's quite a novel experience!
  • End with a great dessert, always. Especially your date's favourite. Either get it from a nice patisserie or bake your own. Great with tea or coffee to balance the sweetness. Chocolate always works.

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Be the Perfect Host 
  • When your date arrives, offer to help with his or her coat, and a drink too.
  • Feel free to get him or her involved in the cooking, so that he or she is not waiting around, feeling left out. Have your date help with light stuff such as opening a can, or uncorking the wine. You should shoulder most of the work - your date is the guest, after all.
  • Always serve your date first, including drinks. 


Have Backup Plans
  • You should always have 2 backup dishes in case things go awry. Keep your pantry stocked with an extra box of dry pasta and a bottle of pasta sauce so you can whip up an easy plan B if plan A goes wrong. Or stock twice the portion of what you need in case you need to re-do it again. 
  • Have a Plan C too - the number of that nice pizza takeaway place. And hope your date finds it amusing and would laugh over it. Never say never.
  • Get a few good DVDs of movies that you both may want to watch. It may come handy if you guys need an excuse to spend more time together ;)
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Keep a good local takeaway's number handy
Do you have any other tips to add from your date night experience? Share with us through the comments below.
Cooking sous-vide for your dinner date is a fantastic alternative too. You can cook to impress with minimal fuss. Sign up to find out more!
 





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